Posted June 10th, 2013, 01:58 PM
May family and I will be cruising for the first time on August 5th. We have booked a four day cruise with RCI on the Enchantment of the Seas. I have several questions. (I am venturing out of my comfort zone planning a cruise. We usually just spend the week at Walt Disney World!)
1. We will be at Disney prior to our cruise and plan to use a town car service to bring us to Port Canaveral. What time should we tell the driver to pick us up from our hotel? We will use the same service upon on the return trip to take us to the airport. What time should I tell him to pick us up from the cruise. Our cruise departs at 4pm and returns at 7 am.
2. Is bottled water included in the price? Can you bring in bottled water if it is not. We plan to get the soda package but my teenage son drinks mostly bottled water.
3. We have been assigned the later seating for dinner. Will we miss the nighttime shows? Should we switch to the my time dining? It doesn't appear to be an extra charge but would need to prepay gratuities from what I have read.
4. Dress at dinner in the main dining room - on the nonformal nights, do the men need to wear long pants? How fancy is the formal night? No one in our group wants to get dressed up!
5. Is it better to prepay the gratuities?
6. In Nassau, what would be the best excursion for teenagers? What is the Blue Lagoon like? Kids may want to do the swim with dolphins thing but parents would like to watch and spend the day on the beach.
Thanks so much in advance. This is a great site!
First let me say welcome and Cruise Critic. You will find many answers to your questions on this site.
Your roll call is at this link - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1839694
it is not very active however. You can meet some of your fellow cruisers and ask some very specific questions about your cruise.
1 a) The trip from Disney to Port Canaveral is approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. You will want to leave extra time for possible traffic. If you want to arrive at the port around Noon, then maybe leave disney around 1000 A.M. Depending on how fast the ship was disembarked and how many people have arrived for boarding, you will most probably be on the ship by 1:00.
1 b) Usually the ship will have it's passengers off the ship by 1030 on the last day. They will assign you a disembark time based on your return travel plans (i.e., flight times, etc.). I think RCI has a walk off option, but I am not sure. Someone on the RCI board may be able to answer that one. You will not be able to leave the ship until it has cleared customs and they are ready for everyone to start leaving. Probably around 8 ish will be the start of disembarking.
2 - bottled water is not included in the price of the cruise. water on the ship is filtered and tastes pretty good. Your son can either buy a bottle of water and then fill it with water in the buffet area; or, check the RCI website (or here on cruise critic) and see if you can bring bottled water on board. Some cruise lines allow it in carry ons.
3) anytime dining is not extra - that is correct. you are also correct that tips will be prepaid when you make final payment. This is because you will not have an opportunity to always have the same servers and the cruise line wants to ensure the wait staff receives their tips. That said - once on board, you can always adjust them up or down depending on service. there are suggested amounts for room stewards, wait staff... so you can be precise (adjust for the room stewards and/or wait staff depending on the level of service you received).
4 - dress in the dining room - read the guidelines from RCI. I have seen men in shorts turned away (as well as anyone in jeans) and I have seen them seated and fed. It might depend on the shorts - if they are dress shorts and the men are wearing collared shirts - might get seated. if wearing jean shorts and t-shirts - probably wouldn't be seated. My husband has worn khaki shorts and hawaiian shirts to dinner and we were fine.
4 b) - formal night - suit is fine however, some men will wear a tux; others might wear a jacket and tie with nice pants. Ladies - it varies from cocktail length to full formal gowns down to dressy pants with sparkly tops.
5 - I answered it above - you can always adjust the amount if you feel it necessary.
6 - I cannot help you with your last question as I have never cruised with my kids nor have I done a dolphin excursion.
Have fun on your first cruise - let me warn though that you will be hooked!